What is a Lifeguard Chair?

Often seen on beaches, at lakes and community pools, a lifeguard chair is an important piece of lifeguard equipment. This tall chair is where a lifeguard sits, keeping an eye on swimmers and the water. The design of the lifeguard chair offers several advantages that help prevent swimming accidents and increase swimmer safety.

A lifeguard chair is often tall, sometimes with a ladder attached to one side or build to be easily climbed if necessary. The height of a lifeguard chair allows two distinct advantages; first, the lifeguard has an unblocked view of the water they are guarding, allowing them to watch swimmers carefully for signs of distress. Additionally, the tall chair helps identify the lifeguard in case of emergency or accident. People at the site will have an easier time finding and identifying a lifeguard if the chair is prominent.

Some lifeguard chairs are quite basic, but others have several features to make the job of the lifeguard considerably easier. Chairs may feature a sunshade or umbrella to protect the lifeguard from the sun. As lifeguards often work long shifts in sunny locations, a sunshade can prevent severe sunburns from developing. A lifeguard chair may also have hooks and compartments for lifeguard gear, making it easy to reach in an emergency. Keeping emergency supplies high on the chair and attached to hooks or on built-in shelves can also prevent beach or pool-goers from misusing or playing with safety equipment.

The building material used for lifeguard chairs is nearly always wood or resin. Metal is usually not appropriate, as it heats easily in the sun and can cause discomfort or skin burns. Many lifeguard chairs are painted white to help them stand out from other objects around them. This helps ease identification, and can even serve as a landmark for swimmers at sea.

A lifeguard chair is a very important part of life-guarding equipment, but it is far from the only thing a lifeguard needs. There are many other accessories used by lifeguards to do their job correctly. To alert swimmers or beachgoers or stop unruly behavior, a lifeguard will often use a whistle or bullhorn. These can also be used to get the attention of other nearby lifeguards in an emergency. A first aid kit and protective gear may also be vital not only to helping injured people, but protecting the lifeguard from infection or harm.

Lifeguards use a variety of buoyant devices that can be thrown or handed to exhausted swimmers to prevent drowning. These devices include life rings and throw bags, and many can hook directly onto a lifeguard chair. If rescuing someone, buoys can help the victim stay afloat while the lifeguard tows them back to shore.

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